a family adopts their precious daughter, Gauri, from India
by Kali VanBaale
I’m often asked what made us decide to adopt internationally and, moreover, what the adoption process has been like. I grapple to find the right adjectives, to give a straight, easy answer. Every family’s decision and journey to adoption is different. Ours was certainly filled with plenty of twists and turns. The summer of 2005, with two healthy biological boys, my husband and I decided to try for a third. Boy or girl, we didn’t care. We just knew we wanted one more to properly fill out the craziness of our household.
But heartbreak and disappointment resulted with two miscarriages, my third overall. It was an agonizing decision, but I couldn’t go through it again. I was done trying. We’d be a family of four. Only…we didn’t feel like a family of four. It was a nagging sense, like an unfinished sentence about our lives. After a time, my husband and I started to talk about how, in the early days of our marriage, we’d both mentioned how much we’d like to adopt a child. I generally don’t like to discuss our three lost pregnancies, but I did, in that moment, have a strange sense that maybe we’d suffered those losses in order to find the child we were meant to have, wherever he or she was. We quickly settled on international adoption, attracted to the idea of bringing another culture into our family, and immediately started working with Holt. We simply followed our gut when we chose India and a year later, received a referral for a little girl in an orphanage in Pune, a city where my husband’s company just happened to have an office. And this little girl just so happened to have the name Gauri—as in Goddess Gauri—a nurturing form of the Goddess Kali. And if that weren’t enough, it just so happened that our Gauri was born July 16, 2005, five days before I lost the second baby, and she was relinquished by her birth mother in mid-September, five days before I lost the third baby. This wasn’t answering a call; it was practically a shovel whack over our heads.
And here we are, nearly three years later, enjoying life with a bright, healthy, loving, larger-than-life little girl. As a writer, it’s not that I can’t find the words to express what adopting Gauri has been like for our family. It’s that I find too many. Wonderful. Hard. Amazing. Frustrating. Fun. Scary. Miraculous. Exhausting. Exciting. Intimidating. Surprising. Blessed.
But one adjective returns to me again and again. It cuts through the mountains of paperwork, through the long months and then weeks of waiting on referrals, passports and visas, through the delays and lucky breaks, the arduous journey that took us around the globe and back again, the culture shock of a foreign country so different and exotic, and the emotional shock of a child terrified upon our first introduction. One word: destined. I guess I’ve got a straight answer after all.